ATI’s pilots are taking a much less antagonistic tone in hopes of bringing Amazon to the negotiating desk. “What we don’t wish to do is have an effect on our clients,” says Sterling. “We’ve executed lots to guard our obsession with Amazon.” Nonetheless, he says the intransigence of ATSG’s administration has left the pilots with no alternative however to name a strike.
“This facet of Amazon’s community is probably the most weak to labor strikes,” says Marc Wulfraat, president of logistics consultancy MWPVL. If drivers or warehouse staff strike, the corporate can shift the stream of merchandise and packages to one among its many close by warehouses, however airports are fewer in quantity and farther aside.
Amazon might compensate for a walkout at ATI by shifting quantity to different air carriers beneath the Amazon Air umbrella, however provided that they’ve the capability to deal with the inflow at the entire airports. It might additionally transport a few of its packages by truck as a substitute, which it did in the course of the temporary 2016 strike. Nonetheless, this might lead to slower delivery instances and diminished service, says Wulfraat, which flies within the face of Amazon’s mantra of buyer obsession.
Pilots even have the benefit of being usually in a robust place throughout the airline trade. “It’s nonetheless a really, very popular job market” for pilots, says Geoff Murray, a associate who works on aerospace at administration consultancy Oliver Wyman. Plummeting demand for passenger pilots in the course of the pandemic despatched many into early retirement, worsening an present pilot scarcity that received extra acute because the trade bounced again. Wages have soared. Oliver Wyman estimates that captains’ pay on the US mainline carriers, akin to Delta and UPS, has elevated 46 p.c since 2020, whereas regional carriers have elevated pay by 86 p.c.
Pilot Drew Patterson got here to ATI in 2021, attracted by the work-life stability the airline supplied, however because the service misplaced pilots, he has seen his workload creep up and his schedule grow to be extra unpredictable. With fewer crews to function the identical variety of flights, “all people else’s schedule will get compressed,” he says. “Generally you could be away from house for a very long time.”
Lengthy-term, he thinks Amazon’s continued development needs to be factor for ATI and its workers, so he’s been prepared to stay it out. However he’s not so positive all of his colleagues will really feel the identical about present circumstances on the firm.
“All of this has an actual house-of-cards feeling to it,” says Sterling. “We simply can’t maintain what we’re doing.”